A man's heart disease risk after the age of 40 may be linked, at least in part, to his mother's body size and placenta size when he was born, a new study suggests.
Indications of the maternal influence on the heart disease risk of male offspring stem from an analysis involving nearly 7,000 Finnish men who were born in Helsinki between 1934 and 1944.
Men whose mothers were short, pregnant for the first time and had relatively oval placentas (indicating that the placental development had been disrupted).
Men whose mothers were tall and heavy and had relatively small placentas (which might have restricted the infants' growth mid-gestation).
Men whose mothers were tall with a lower-than-normal body mass index and whose placentas were heavy relative to birth weight (the mothers' BMIs suggest that their nutrition was poor during pregnancy, Barker explained).